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Land deal in doldrums after minister’s exit

ISLAMABAD: A land deal allegedly made by former housing minister Rehmatullah Kakar for a housing project recently launched in Islamabad under the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme (PMHS) hangs in the balance after his resignation under JUI-F’s decision to quit the coalition.

Land deal in doldrums after minister’s exitAccording to sources, the deal of 3,000 kanals is also being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Housing and Works because the land was purchased at an exorbitant price in an area where housing was not allowed at the time.

The sources said that officials of the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) involved in the deal fear action by NAB and the NA committee after the minister’s resignation, which had not been accepted so far by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

“After the resignation, the shady deal and the housing scheme are more likely to be wrapped up because they were being defended by the minister at all forums,” an official of the housing ministry said.

It was revealed a few months ago that the FGEHS, a department of the housing ministry, had purchased the 3,000 kanals from a firm called ‘Green Tree’ in Barakahu area (in Zone-IV of Islamabad) at Rs950,000 per kanal, although the market rate in the area is said to be Rs400,000 to 500,000.

“The committee noticed a marked difference between the market value and the price of the land,” a member of the NA committee said.

The land was purchased last year and housing in the zone was permitted by the cabinet recently.

The prime minister changed the zoning regulations apparently to legalise the housing scheme floated recently.

Earlier, the Capital Development Authority had refused to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the FGEHF for the scheme and published a public notice in national dailies on April 14, warning people about unauthorised development of housing schemes and construction in Zone-IV.

However, on the directives of the prime minister, the authority proposed amendments to the regulations that were approved by him.

It is feared that the money of the plot owners would be stuck if the controversial project is wrapped up.

The project is being executed by the FGEHS near the Simly Road as a joint venture with the Green Tree, which has provided the land and will develop it for housing. The FGEHF paid about 65 per cent of the price at the time of purchase.

According to the agreement signed by the FGEHF and the Green Tree, the firm initially offered 1,600 kanals along the Simly Dam Road, which was extendable up to 3,000 kanals.

“Being land provider, M/s Green Tree (Pvt) Limited will arrange for transfer of clear title free from all encumbrances and charge in favour of Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation within 15 days of the agreement,” it said.

It said the land provider would undertake that the entire 3,000 kanals would remain reserved for acquisition by the foundation for extension of its scheme up to four months from the date of execution of the agreement and there would be no alienation or disposal of any kind.

Both sides agreed that per kanal price of the entire land will be Rs950,000.

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